Yes, I know… hard to believe isn’t it?
No, I’m not looking to replace our Calfee… far from it. We are still as pleased as we can be with the Calfee, which continues to impress us with its unmatched ride comfort despite our use of very narrow, very high pressure tires. About the only thing that we have in mind to do with the Calfee is to upgrade the rear cassette to a wider-range 10 speed model (see today’s blog entry on Shimano CX-771 cassette) and some trials with a new sync drive developed by our good friend Bob Thompson down in The Villages near Orlando, Florida.
However, I have a hankering for something “else” to fiddle around with but what???
Another Off-Road Tandem? – As noted in some of my bloggishnish entries, we’ve got a loaner Ventana El Conq here at the house from friend Alex Nutt at MTBTandems that we’ve not made time to ride due to the heat and the lack of free time on the weekends due to my shed project, vacationing with family in PA, the MATES tandem rally, and so on. Again, this would be a direct replacement for our ’02 Ventana El Conq, not really something “new” as much as it would be better-fitting with some component refinements, i.e., different brakes and suspension fork. Of course, Alex has been eager for us to try one of his new Fandango 29’r hard tail off-road tandems and perhaps that would scratch the ‘itch’ for something “new”. Clearly, the Fandango bikes from MTBTandems are not lacking anything, as evidenced by the recent 1st and 2nd place finishes at the 2010 Leadville 100: must be something going on there, given that the teams who ride these bikes could have chosen from any one of five or six different off-road tandems as their weapon of choice for the Leadville.
That Bamboo Tandem from Calfee? – I still can’t get that out of my head either. It’s not so much that we want or need a tandem that’s any more comfortable than our composite/graphite Calfee, I think it’s the ‘cool factor’ that would come with having a bamboo tandem fitted with a set of Velocity’s faux wood-grain rims and some color-coordinated Chris King hubs, a Sella Anatomica tan leather saddle and matching bar tape, and perhaps a carbon fork painted to mimic bamboo… talk about stylin’! From a more practical standpoint, this might also be a wide-tire tandem with provisions for some mud-guards — Woody’s, of course — that would also scratch the itch for a ‘touring’ tandem. Well, maybe I’m over-reaching on that one. Anyway, as you can tell, I’ve been thinking about this rad-ride far more than I should, because it truly is without a doubt a 100% Vanity Trip.
How About That Old-School Rene Herse or Alex Singer Tandem? – Many years back Jan Heine of Vintage Bicycle Press / Bicycle Quarterly and I shared some correspondence about tandem geometry that planted the seeds for yet another tandem I’d like to have in our stable… a classic French tandem from the late 40’s / early 50’s similar to the one that Jan used for his 2003 Paris-Breast-Paris ride with Jaye Haworth. While I would intuitively believe Debbie would revolt upon being crammed into a stoker compartment that is easily 5″ shorter than what she enjoys on the Calfee, and 6.5″ shorter than the Erickson & Ventana tandems, it’s hard to know for sure until we gave it a try. Alternatively, and given how scarce these classic tandems are and/or how hard it is to restore one to original condition with the correct parts, there’s also a temptation to get in Stephen Bilenky’s queue to have him create a current-day version of the classic touring tandem with a more generous stoker compartment, similar to the one he created, showed, and won top-honors with at the 2009 North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Of course, that’s an awful lot of coin to drop on a tandem that would see very little use, no matter how nice it was… and perhaps less because of how “nice” it might be. Again, it would be hard to imagine that it would displace our Calfee as our everyday, special event and travel tandem…
So, at the end of the day I guess I’ll always struggle with the desire to add more tandems to our stable, but the reality of it is I’d do better to put that $$ into our retirement fund so that we could have more time to enjoy the exceptional tandems we already own.